Lovage is an old European folk remedy but has been forgotten. I would like to bring some attention to this valuable plant with this recipe. In the old days, it was used like parsley is used today, it grew in the gardens of everyday folks. It has an unusual flavor, more like citrusy celery. I used my Potato leek soup receipe (source) but added lovage instead of kale at the end as lovage wonderfully enhances the flavor of the potatoes. Of course, it is a great plant to use to get the body ready for the colder months.
Lovage (Levisticum officinale) can be used for medicine and culinary purposes. It has been around for thoasands years but the Greek physician, Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC) made it popular after adding it into the culinary world after he used it successfully during the epidemics of his time. It gives myraid of health benefits from of course improving digestion to reducing arthritis, water in edema and the skin and many more. It is definatelly a big digestion remedy and it is even aphrodisiac. Lovage is a warming sweet, bitter and aromatic plant. I have it growing in my garden right now, a small little shoot grew very quickly into a large plant.
- 8 medium sized Russet or Yukon potatoes (about 1.5-2 pounds)
- 3 medium sized leeks, peeled and sliced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 large slices of bacon or to taste (optional)
- stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
- 1-3 thyme sprins
- 2 dried bay leaves
- handfull of chopped up lovage
- 1/2-1 cup of cream
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- crushed hot red pepper flakes to taste
- Parmesan cheese to serve
- Wash and slice up leeks. Slice leeks thin with a sharp knife. Use more the white part (cook the greenish part in the stock or discard). Put the sliced leeks in a bowl of cold water for 1/2 hour. This will get all the dirt out of the leeks. Clean well. Strain the liquid using a colander or pat dry.
- If you decide to keep the peel on the potatoes, clean and soak potatoes in some cold water for 1/2 hour. Scrub off any dirt. If you decide to peel potatoes, you can skip this step and just peel and slice the potatoes thin.
- Sauté leek slices in some butter for about 10 minutes or until you can smell the aroma of the leeks. Add 1 tsp of paprika and fennel seeds to activate for 1 minute and stir. Add 1/4 tsp cold water, stir.
- Fry up some sliced bacon if you decide to use it.
- Add potatoes and bacon to the leeks. Pour in the stock enough to barely cover the vegetables. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Start heating the soup carefully until it starts bubbling but not boiling. Quickly, turn the heat down and slowly cook for 1 hour.
- Clean and cut up lovage.
- When soup is done, add the lovage.
- It doesn’t need to cook.
- Add cream, salt, black pepper, hot red pepper flakes. Don’t cook anymore.
- Serve hot with a little Parmesan cheese.
Matthew Wood. Eartwise Herbal
Text, photos and recipe by twincitiesherbs.com